Writings of Branko's Blog

All around Central Europe


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Message of Hope in the ME [blog]


Everyone is talking about Middle East and North Africa these days. As in some celestial chess game, kings and rulers are falling down, and players are changing colors. There are blockades of news from outside, Internet is being cut as well as mobile services, in order for local leaders to regain strong grip of rule.

 

Marrakech at nite

Amid the ongoing unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, Christian media organization TWR continues to deliver spiritual programming to the region, proclaiming the peace, hope and love of Jesus Christ. Producers are now preparing special programing to address the present situation. Broadcast in 22 countries where Arabic is spoken (both a local version and a classical Arabic) goes for 4 hours every day on MW/AM uninterrupted.

“There’s no doubt that the Middle East and North Africa region is in a state of turmoil and chaos,” says TWR’s Arabic Ministries leader. “What we see on the news – whether local, regional or international – is heartbreaking and can be quite alarming since we don’t know what the future holds for this region. People are boiling in anger, rebellion and hatred, and their wrath is being manifested in violent attacks on private and public sectors.”

“We are thankful that God is in control and focus on His promises and His Word in Philippians 4:6: ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God,’ the Arabic Ministries leader says.

“Please pray with us that the broadcast of God’s Word into the region would continue to have a profound and extensive impact on people in the region,” the leader adds. “Also pray for the safety of our teams in the region, and that they would be able to continue to do the work that He has called them to do. Pray that their lives—at all times—would reflect the Source of our peace.”

More info on Middle East site.


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Did We Throw Out Our Identity With The Bath Water? [blog]


Political and military changes in Serbia and around it in the last 20 years, especially the dissolving of the former Yugoslavia and the subsequent civil wars and conflicts in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo have left the protestant minority churches with many open questions. One of them is issue of the identity crisis. During the breakup years state-run propaganda, in an attempt to discredit the ‘otherness’ and bring in unity needed for war times (but with wrong motives and methods), systematically fed public opinion with horrifying stories of youth being lured into various sects and ‘pseudo-Christian’ churches, as they called mostly all Protestant/Evangelical denominations in Serbia. An honest account on subjects “Where do Protestants come from?” and “Who are the Evangelicals?” is long due, since people got confused.

On the other hand, the development of Protestantism in Serbia did not begin with the latest ‘arrivals’ of the Western short-term missionaries. Its origins could be traced back to XII century, when Bogomils were persecuted for their faith and non-submissiveness to the state church, and then passing by the Hutterites and Hussites around the times of Reformation to come to a great age of the British Bible society work and missionaries-for-life coming to evangelize in the Balkans, to the development of only-in-Serbia specific Mennonite/Baptist group called ‘nazareni,’ and others.

We tend to forget all that for the sake of a latest ministry trend, and/or for a little peace from the state supported and media savvy hooligans harassing young believers and frightening God-fearing people. Being a Bible believing Christian in Serbia is never easy, but has been an old ‘thing.’

This is why it is important to have a steady, long-lasting ministry presence in the region, just alike TWR, which is regularly broadcasting messages of hope, peace and love; especially in the last ten years. I feel sometimes that messages are stemming straight from Jesus’ heart (yes, He does speak Serbian too). www.twr-serbia.org helps listeners find their true identity in Jesus.

Who is my Brother, Lord?


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North Africa and TWR [blog]


Leading North Africans to an encounter with Christ is something that TWR has been doing via radio since 1974. TWR’s Berber ministry broadcasts Christian programs for North Africa using major Berber languages such as Kabyle, Tamazight and Tarifit. The church in North Africa, though persecuted and illegal, is experiencing a spiritual awakening right now. Here is one story from the notebook of TWR ministry coordinator that I feel you might be interested in.

Photo by Pierre-Yves Mutrux

“Allow me to present myself. I’m called Laifa, which means “abject.” My mother gave me this strange name because all of her offspring died a few months after birth. So among five children, I’m the only child who survived.

My mother said that, thanks to my unpleasant name, death believed that I’m entirely unpleasant, and did not approach me…I told myself that if death did not come to me, I would kill myself; I would be finished with the world that tortured me, and rest forever.

I hardly finished this reflection when my friend called me and said, “Come quickly! Listen to this broadcast in the Kabyle language on a station called Trans World Radio.” I fortunately had time and listened to the entire broadcast. The message touched me deeply. In my anguish, I was as the jailer (in Acts 16); I was going to take my life, but Jesus gave me life. I gave my heart to Jesus; I’m happy and alive.

People now call me “son of Jesus”. My name of “Laifa” is not despised anymore, because Jesus changed everything. All the members of my family came to the Lord! I end my letter here, not to bother you.

Your brother Laifa, whom Jesus saved from the dead.”